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Stephanie7
Stephanie7 asks:
Q:

Daughter with visual processing LD - what are realistic goals?

My daughter was diagnosed with a visual processing disorder. She's going into 10th grade in an academically rigorous school and wants to not only to succeed, but to excel. What can she really expect? Her service plan (it's private school) says little other than to give her more time on tests and only expect her to do 75% of the work. That second didn't sit well with her; she expects do do it all. What can this spirited, interested and interesting and verbally very bright kid expect from high school and beyond? She's got high goals for herself and wants a future in law or veterinary medicine. Is this realistic?
In Topics: School and Academics, Learning disabilities, Visual processing disorder
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Jun 9, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

Your daughter sounds like a great student who is having a "glitch" with learning due to her difficulties with her visual processing.  Therefore, it may be better for her to learn through other channels, especially an auditory modality.

Perhaps exams can given to her verbally and then she can respond verbally.  This is not atypical for verbal tests to replace written ones such as for exams that are multiple choice, true false or short answer.

As for short essay exams, it may help for her to study with graphics.  The use of a visual aid to assist her to recall information that is not the printed words maybe helpful.  I know that some students will draw pictures or charts to assist with math or written essays.  Also, she may find that if she makes up rhymes, take photographs, or uses diagramming techniques to help assist with sentence structure when studying for essay exams or preparing to write term papers she will have better organization of her work and also recall.

There are several organizations that may be of use to your daughter.  I would suggest starting at the following:

http://www.ldanatl.org
http://www.suite101.com/reference/ld_teens


Good luck and please let your daughter that some of the most successful people in our history had learning challenges!  (Here is a website that lists just a few! http://www.adhdstrategies.com/FamousPeopleWithADD.asp)

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families™
Radio host of Learning and Laughter with Louise on HerInsight (Toginet.com)

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Additional Answers (5)

Stephanie7
Stephanie7 writes:
Hi Louise,

I appreciate that you responded, but I am really looking for more specific thoughts on what my daughter may ultimately be able to do in her life vis a vis career. A former high level gymnast, she's goal oriented, extremely highly motivated and did some of the best work she's ever done during this, her sophomore year in high school. I don't know what her finals will look like, although she began studying a month before. She's been working with a tutor in school, who helps her organize her work - really more organize her head, and my daughter's gotten much better at doing this herself. As someone who's a random, non-sequential thinker this is helpful for her with MLA papers (although I see her creativity being compromised a bit here). My question really is - when she talks about her future she's hesitant in saying she's got an interest in science or law - because she's worried she's "not smart enough." I've told her that while it may take her a little longer and she will have to use strategies to achieve her goals, that she can do it. She's skeptical, and I'm not sure if I'm being disingenuous by countering that. She wanted to be a veterinarian for a long time - longer than the usual 12 years for most girls - but has dropped that, saying she won't be able to do it. I'm not sure how to guide her, and realize that without knowing her you may not either, but that's the direction of my question. Thanks for anything you can share.
> 60 days ago

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LouiseSattler
LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
Hello again-

I have a few thoughts now that you added some information.

1.  It has been my experience that nothing beats talking to people in the field to get a clear indication of what is involved with a career.  If she is interested in Animal Sciences she may wish to pursue careers akin to veterinary medicine such as animal training, vet assistant,  even the FBI has a program involving animal sciences.  She may need to explore with a guidance counselor options.  Also, if she talks to a vet she may find that she DOES have skills and may do very well with this career choice (Although nothing in life is guaranteed).  A guidance counselor also can give inventory and skills exams that will help to guide her with her decisions based on her abilities and interests..

2.  Consider liberal arts as a beginning to her post High School education.  This may mean that she may go to a community college or start in a four year program as undecided.  Then she can "sample" different courses and figure out what she may like and not like.  Many people start their post HS careers as one major and change before they graduate.  

3.  Consider a "gap" year. This would be when she could explore through volunteer work or travel what "strikes her fancy".  There are many programs such as Volunteer USA that provide structured opportunities.  However, be sure to see if she will be covered by health insurance if this is a concern for you.  

It may be that your daughter is looking for your "permission" to try new things and discover opportunities which might not always mean success.  Or you may need to start a conversation with your daughter, who has a history of striving for excellence, that you give her "permission" to explore new avenues and let her know that we often learn most from things in life that don't "pan" out or end with a result that we seek then when we achieve success.  

Good luck and I hope these suggestions help you.  Perhaps others on Education.com will have other recommendations, too!

Louise Sattler
> 60 days ago

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Stephanie7
Stephanie7 writes:
Thanks, these are good ideas. It's difficult as a parent of a 15+ year old, when to know what's really going on in a kid's head. Your comments are very helpful, and I appreciate them.
> 60 days ago

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Irlenmom
Irlenmom writes:
Do you have a student that struggles?
My daughter Cassidy suffered for years with reading, math, copying from the board, letter and number reversals, handwriting, following directions, catching a ball, jumping rope, and was very clumsy.  I had many meetings with her school asking the same question, what can I do other than what I had been doing?  Her teachers said that she was a very hard worker but she just couldn’t keep up with her grade level.  She was very smart in visualized information but she just couldn’t learn it on paper.  We used to work on her homework every night for 2 hours trying to get her caught up with work she couldn’t get done at school and other academics she needed help in.  She always said she was stupid and would get very angry at me for trying to push her to study.  We cried many times together.  I took her to several Doctors that tested her for different disabilities and she had none of them.  She repeated First grade and was still behind.
When she was in third grade someone told me that she reminded them of another child that had Irlen Syndrome.  I searched the Internet for this syndrome and was somewhat skeptical.  As I was looking at the list of symptoms, I realized Cassidy had most of them.  I called an Irlen screener and made an appointment willing, to try anything!  She was screened for color overlays.  The test consists of looking at pictures, boxes, numbers, etc. until you get rid of the distortions.  The results were dramatic.  She described flashes of light that reminded her of a lighthouse.  She couldn’t see letters or numbers that had a (o) circle in them, because it would flash out.  When she used the color overlay, and she no longer had letter or number reversals. She read a lot better and it was easier for her, and her writing improved. In grades fourth and fifth she was catching up with what other students had already learned and she did it rapidly.  
In fourth grade, I decided to get the filters that she wears as glasses.  When she put them on for the first time, it was the best day of my life.  She looked around and smiled as if it was the first time she saw the world.  She said she felt like she was in a cage and now she’s free.  All I could do is cry, because of how she must have felt being so closed in all this time.  She said she didn’t know trees were so tall, and steps were so wide, the tables had edges, and the water at the lake had waves.  She’s now thirteen and she continues to tell me how things look different than they did before she got her filtered glasses.
That fateful day she got her glasses, I knew I must bring awareness to this syndrome to help parents and children having the same struggle we had.  I am now an Irlen color overlay screener.  Most screeners charge $100.00 to screen but I’m not charging to screen children because I don’t want anyone to go through what my child and I had to go through. If the overlays help your child, the Irlen Syndrome Organization charges $10.00 per overlay, which will be the only cost to you. Please call me if you know of a child or have a child, with the symptoms of Irlen Syndrome so we can help them reach their full potential and ease their frustration.  Thank you for taking the time to read our story.
                                                Amy Carey      402-714-2165
> 60 days ago

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Stephanie7
Stephanie7 writes:
I thought I'd post an update since it was a year ago I put this out. My daughter's having found out she hasd a learning disability was the best thing that ever happened to her. First of all, she stopped perceiving herself as being "stupid," and that was major. Once she figure out that if she used specific study and memorization strategies (with help from the wonderful ESL teacher at her school) she was able to pinpoint exactly where she needed to put her attention. I called a meeting with the learning specialist and all her teachers, which in itself was amazing - her history teacher shared with us that he's dyslexic; her English teacher suddenly realized why my daughter could look at a word on a page, but when she copied the same word would misspell it even while defining it correctly. My daughter worked 2x weekly for 45 minutes with her tutor. Suddenly she knew what to do. She understood she had problems with sequencing; that her writing was creative, but random. It wasn't overnight; she still has to work hard at thesis papers and spends more time on homework than her peers. But her grade point average is very high - and she does all the work, not just the 75% she's allowed. She asked her chemistry teacher if she could take tests out of the room, since there was quite a bit of chatter and that distracted her. He allowed it. Now in 11th grade, she was going to take AP biology. She turned it down and will do it next year, because the class was microbiology, and she'd never done regular bio. But her teacher asked her and 2 others to do honors bio - which meant more difficult tests and a project that would require her to spend many hours per semester working on it and a Power Point presentation at the end of the year. As of right now she's the only one of the three who has not only chosen her project, but has begun it, dissecting and comparing the major systems of vertebrates from lamprey to fetal pig with the requisite amphibian, reptile and bird in between. She's thinking about medicine, specifically pediatric surgery. It won't be easy for her and she knows it. But through the discovery process that began last year she is learning how to learn. Standardized testing may always be an issue for her, but more and more schools are understanding that there are other ways to assess what a kid can do.
> 60 days ago

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